I Don’t Care About Your Unsigned Opinions

The internet’s anonymity has made a sniper’s target out of bloggers, teachers, neighbors. Emboldened by anonymity, the snarky sniper sneaks in and leaves a vicious comment and darts back into the night. Coward.

The coward wants to shock and hurt, not help. Unable to give worthwhile feedback, the word-sniper hides behind anonymous comments, unsigned evaluations, and no-name surveys.

If you don’t sign your name, if you won’t admit to your own opinion, I cannot take you seriously.  Those who make suggestions and sign their names, well, that’s something I can work with. I often make adjustments to classes based on evaluations, but never on unsigned ones. Even flattering unsigned ones. You can’t take someone seriously who isn’t serious about their own opinion.

At the moment, it’s popular to have online evaluations for training sessions, and the instructor gets the opinions with no name. Some of them are deliberately hurtful simply because the class participant could act out without accountability.

But I know who you are. You are the person who was not paying attention when I gave directions because you were texting.

You are the person who came back late from every break, and as you sat down, interrupted the class to say, “So where are we now?” You are the one who asked if class was really going to last till 4 p.m. because you wanted to go to the mall.

Your group (no matter what group you were in) never completed the exercises because you were argumentative and disruptive. You told me you didn’t need to be in this class, that you already knew everything in the book, so you made phone calls and answered emails.

Here’s something important about unsigned comments: they tell me about you. How unhappy you are. How angry you are. How difficult it is to help you. Your opinion is not about me or my class. It’s about your need to have someone prove they accept you more than you can accept yourself.

This is your class. I study, research, develop, prep, work, and try to keep you engaged. That’s my job and I love every minute of it. If you don’t want to learn, I can’t make you. I don’t even want to make you.

You are an adult, and how much you learn is entirely up to you. I’m not your mom or your parole officer. I’m the instructor and I’m  paying attention to the people who are concentrating, asking good questions, trying to figure out the exercises. They want to learn the material, they want to use it. I’ll stay late, skip my break, recommend reading, explain something in a different way, and give them my email to make sure they get what they need.

But you, the one who made comments under your breath and then gave me a bad evaluation without signing your name? You don’t matter.

-Quinn McDonald is a training developer and instructor who cares deeply about interested people who want to learn, alternative learning paths, and helping the unsure. She cannot help people who think training is punishment.